Lonnie Snowden says he doesn’t believe his son, Edward, committed treason when he leaked information about a top secret American program that collects vast metadata about Americans’ electronic activity.
“He has in fact broken U.S. law, in a sense that he has released classified information,” Snowden told NBC News. “And if folks want to classify him as a traitor, in fact he has betrayed his government. But I don’t believe that he’s betrayed the people of the United States.”
Lonnie also told NBC that he had told Attorney General Eric Holder that his son would be willing to return to the United States if “the Justice Department promises not to detain him before a trial nor subject him to a gag order. He also wants his son to select where a trial would take place.”
Lonnie said that he is concerned his son is being manipulated by WikiLeaks.
“I don’t want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him,” he told the network. “I think WikiLeaks, if you’ve looked at past history, you know, their focus isn’t necessarily the Constitution of the United States. It’s simply to release as much information as possible.”